Puck Daddy provides the NHL coverage for Yahoo Sports, and is doing a series in August they call Summer of Disappointment. The photo list sums Noah Glick's answers to most disappointing (team, player, moment, transaction, coach/executive and fashion choice) for the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, Aug. 13.
The 2013-14 NHL season squad was chosen for the most disappointing team. The Pacific Division semifinals choke went beyond disappointment. Watching the Los Angeles Kings go on to win the Stanley Cup brought an entirely new level of pain. Knowing San Jose had four chances to eliminate them and may have been the team to win it all had that happened was crushing.
However, naming that biggest disappointment after the entire season is inaccurate. The 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs appears to be the answer Glick advocates, and it is right because of what should and might have been.
If most disappointing team has to be for a full season and playoffs, that was undoubtedly the 2011-12 Sharks that barely qualified for the postseason with just 11 wins in the 37 games that did not come in one of their three 15-game hot streaks. Unfortunately, they were not hot in the Stanley Cup playoffs, managing only an overtime win in the series-opening game before suffering the quickest first-round defeat in franchise history.
There could also be a debate of semantics on the choice of player. Marty Havlat was incredibly disappointing not only because he had much potential, but because by all accounts he did not do everything he could to reach it. Glick's choice and headline here are solid, but there are also other equally-sound choices.
One could just as easily pick high draft picks that have not worked out, with Jeff Jillson probably the worst: 14th overall pick that never played more than 50 NHL games in one season, only 74 with San Jose (five goals, 19 assists) and only 140 (9 G, 32 A) in his entire career.
One could also make the argument Ed Belfour was the most disappointing player in franchise history. Trade for a guy to make a Stanley Cup playoff run, he plays poorly and the Sharks do not make the postseason, then he abandons them to win it all (thanks to some tired referees wanting to go home) for a Pacific Division rival.
The most disappointing moment was listed as losing to the Anaheim Ducks in the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs. Puck Daddy fails to adequately differentiate this category from most disappointing team, and again this team seems to be chosen because another Pacific Division rival ended another promising San Jose season.
The Sharks had won the President's Trophy that season and seemed overconfident (or lacking in intensity for another reason) going against the Ducks that were just two years removed from being Stanley Cup champions. Dropping the first two at home turned out to be too much to overcome, and the team that had everything accomplished nothing.
The most disappointing transaction was especially curious. Trading Owen Nolan to the Toronto Maple Leafs was one of the best trades San Jose has ever made. They got a draft pick that ended up being Milan Michalek as well as Brad Boyes and Alyn McCauley for a player that managed just 364 more games in his NHL career, with 106 goals and 130 assists.
Glick's reasoning was that Michalek was used to trade for Dany Heatley, whose disappointing effort got him shipped off for Havlat. So because one trade led to another and another and another before finally winding up a total bust, it was bad?
For one thing, Michalek alone played 317 games, scored 91 goals and 123 assists with San Jose before being traded to the Ottawa Senators. Over those four-plus NHL seasons he quickly worked his way through the system to earn, he out-performed Nolan's five-plus by 26 games, a goal and 10 assists.
The fact that Michalek also netted return is a bonus. For all the hate thrown at Heatley, 65 goals and 81 assists in 162 games in teal and two of three Sharks appearances in the Western Conference finals in his only two seasons says something.
Add in Havlat's 127 games, 27 goals and 40 assists and general manager Doug Wilson came out 77 goals and 114 assists in 242 more games ahead of keeping Nolan, who had only one 20-goal season left in him. That does not even count the return from Boyes or McCauley.
Puck Daddy also made Todd McLellan its most disappointing coach or executive. San Jose has had far worse, but Glick's reasoning was that more is expected out of him. I am not sure why given this is his first NHL head coaching gig while Ron Wilson reached the Stanley Cup finals before the team hired him.
Glick also mentions the Stanley Cup playoff failures of McLellan, but three of the four best postseason runs were with him as head coach of the Sharks. Doug Wilson may be a better choice for this category given he either did not do enough to support an aging core for the immediate future or was foolish enough to sign them to no-movement clauses so he cannot get rid of them, depending on your perspective. Then again, he is the best regular season general manager in the NHL during his tenure.
Finally, choosing the most disappointing fashion choice as a topic is questionable but the selection is not: Brent Burns makes this list as much for his wild hair and beard as anything, but Examiner has been in the dressing room to witness the costume-like ridiculous nature of many of his suits the public does not even see.
In the end, the Summer of Discontent San Jose edition is barely worth reading. Blades of Teal put out a much better top-five list (theirs on pinnacle moments of the 2014 summer) Tuesday that overlooks the drama of rebuild talk and the Ice Team to cover a conflict over the television deal as though a threat to relocate the team is anything more than posturing, but the article's points were defined better and more thoroughly covered.